Defending champions Waitakere United all but wrapped up top spot in the ASB Premiership by coming from behind at Kiwitea St today to beat Auckland City 3-2.

Waitakere now hold a 10-point lead over their rivals and one win from their final three games will be enough to clinch the minor premiership.

Auckland and third-placed Hawkes Bay still have four games to play but only an extraordinary series or results will prevent Waitakere from sealing O-League qualification and home advantage in the playoffs.

The west Aucklanders have rarely enjoyed success at Kiwitea St, but they twice came from behind today to win the 38th Super City derby and remain undefeated this season.


With their only stumble in this campaign came in a 1-1 draw against Auckland at Fred Taylor Park, Waitakere will be full of confidence when the four-team playoffs begin next month.

The first half lacked fluidity and neither back four - the two tightest defences in the league - was seriously breached. The middle third was particularly muddled as both midfields struggled to retain possession with any regularity.

With no penetration from open play, Auckland were causing problems with set pieces and that was the source of the opening goal. From a free kick on the edge of the area, Alex Feneridis curled his strike expertly into the top corner to break the deadlock.

If Auckland's goal was a thing of beauty, Waitakere's equaliser was the opposite. A speculative cross from Luiz del Monte on the right floated towards Tamati Williams and the goalkeeper, who appealed for obstruction, failed to get a touch as the ball bounced harmlessly into the net.

Captain Ivan Vicelich was booked for his protestations and he was still gesticulating as the sides came off for halftime a few moments later.

Waitakere started the brighter side after the break, but that counted for nothing when Manel Exposito took advantage of some poor defending to tuck away Auckland's second.

The hosts' lead lasted only 10 minutes, though, with Ryan de Vries' cross to the back post met superbly by a sliding Krishna who converted from the narrowest of angles.

And Waitakere grabbed their first lead 15 minutes from time through Tim Myers, who prodded home after prolonged goalmouth scramble following a corner to clinch the points.

Things turned from bad to worse for Auckland when Feneridis was dismissed just before full time, leaving Waitakere to celebrate like they won the league.

They almost have.

Auckland City 2 (Feneridis 11, Exposito 48)
Waitakere United 3 (del Monte 43, Krishna 59, Myers 74)
HT: 1-1